On Tuesday, Iggy Pop and the Ensemble intercontemporain were each presented with the 2022 Polar Music Prize at a ceremony in Stockholm.
The award, which celebrates excellence in music, is given each year to one popular music artist and one classical artist. Songwriter Diane Warren also accepted the 2020 honor at the ceremony, since COVID had delayed previous award ceremonies.
In accepting his award, Iggy Pop commented, “Recognition is a hard mistress … Ada Osterberg, a Swedish émigré to the US, adopted my father James…[Ada] was a Red Cross nurse and raised my dad during the great depression… These were great people, real people. I am neither great nor real. At this point, I am a myth. Happily, music is a form of myth. All beauty derives from believing in myth. But every so often, you gotta get real — like balls. That’s how I got here. So when you think about music, when you think about this prize and if you remember me, think about the balls.”
Thirteen-time Academy Award nominee Diane Warren was in attendance to receive her 2020 honor, as well. In her speech, she said: “I’ve always looked at my songs as a passport. They have taken me, a kid from Van Nuys, California with the crazy dream of becoming a songwriter, to many places I could only imagine going to — to the voices of some of the greatest singers on the planet, to the hearts of people I will never know all over the world that my songs have touched in some way and somehow have become a part of the soundtracks of their lives, to the Academy Awards, to so many places I only fantasized of going to. To this night, to this country, to this prestigious award. I can’t believe my name is now among those great artists who have also received this honor … “
She continued: “This is what I still wake up every day and live to do. I never for a minute do not realize how lucky I am. That I can write a song to make someone feel good, feel seen, feel understood, feel less alone. How cool is that? Thank you for this award and for an amazing night I will never forget.”
The Polar Music Prize has been held annually since its foundation in 1989 by Swedish music icon Stig “Stikkan” Anderson, who was a publisher, lyricist and manager for ABBA. Recipients have included Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Björk, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Grandmaster Flash, Ann-Sophie Mutter and Metallica. This year’s ceremony took place at The Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden.